Author: Patricia Mckillip
Series: Cygnet #1&2
Rating: 1/5 stars [DNF]
The Overview: In the realm of fantasy, one name stands out from the crowd. For many years, Patricia A. McKillip has charmed readers with her unique brand of prose magic (Locus). Now, for the first time in one volume, she offers two of her classic tales-The Sorceress and the Cygnet and The Cygnet and the Firebird-which delve into the fate of the Ro family and an otherworld rich in myth and mayhem, magic and adventure. -Goodreads
This is a reviewing feature I’ve been eyeballing on one of my favorite book blogs There Were Books Involved (who’s website has since been deleted) for a couple years now because I think it’s an excellent way to talk about an unfinished book fairly. I’m incredibly grateful because Nikki (the brains behind the blog, who has a most excellent name) kindly allowed me to steal the idea and questions for my own blog. As my list of “amazing books to read” continues to grow, I find I have less and less time and patience to devote to the books I’m just not enjoying. I never would have considered DNFing a book ten years ago, but then I came across a quote, “Read the best books first, for you might not have the chance to read them all,” and have since made it my personal mantra. So let the Q&A begin!
Did you really give Cygnet a chance?
It was clear to me from the first few chapters that this author and I weren’t going to get along. Surprisingly, I read almost 45% of the first book (this is a two-in-one compilation) and even considered finishing it since it was such a fast read. Then I decided I’d rather spend the time on something else…
Have you enjoyed other books in the same genre before?
I’m not really sure in what genre to classify this. Weird classic fantasy? What I have enjoyed are these other works that verged from the norm, but actually in a good way. All other resemblances are coincidental.
Did you have certain expectations before starting it?
Well, based on the cover, I was hoping it would have something to do with dragons who just happen to be called “cygnets” in this book, but alas it is referring to an actual swan. Maybe dragons make an appearance later on, but I didn’t make it far enough to report. I was also expecting dated writing, but not to the degree where it made the prose hard to understand/follow.
What ultimately made you stop reading?
Among other things, it was too ridiculous and I don’t have the patience for a lot of far-fetched elements in my books. By the time he was going through a cabin with a thousand rooms in the middle of a swamp and given a couple of prophecies to follow to have an effect on eternal beings, I was out. The story was so far removed from what I signed up for in the first chapter, and nothing about it made sense. My objections with the plot were boundless. And on top of that I didn’t like the writing style at all. It was disjointed and used a lot of incomplete sentences. I’m all about creative prose, but when it’s at the expense of your reader actually understanding what you’re trying to say, it’s too much. I could’ve kept reading, but I knew I was so uninvested that even had I finished, the rating wasn’t going to be any better than a two star. If that.
Was there anything you liked about Cygnet?
Um.. perhaps the basic concept at the beginning and it’s unconventionality. But the latter might be a stretch because I think it was perhaps a bit too unconventional. I still appreciate people who march to their own drum, even if I don’t want to go watch the parade.
Would you read anything else by this author?
No. In fact reading this one convinced me it would be wise to donate my other McKillip books. We’re just not on the same brainwave.
So you DNF’d the book – would you still recommend it?
I would not feel okay recommending this book in place of the vast array of others I think were more enjoyable fantasy works. Perhaps if you like more whimsical, ridiculous fantasy like Piers Anthony, this will be more up your alley, but I find I lack the patience for it.